Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 12, pp 1969–1980 | Cite as

Parenting and Youth Onset of Depression Across Three Years: Examining the Influence of Observed Parenting on Child and Adolescent Depressive Outcomes

  • Julianne M. GriffithEmail author
  • Christopher M. Crawford
  • Caroline W. Oppenheimer
  • Jami F. Young
  • Benjamin L. Hankin


Concurrent associations between parenting behaviors and youth depression are well established. A smaller body of work has demonstrated longitudinal associations between aspects of parenting and youth risk for depression; however, this limited longitudinal work has predominantly relied upon self- and parent-report questionnaire measures and is thus affected by biases related to retrospective recall and common method variance. The present study used behavioral observation measures of parenting and clinical interview measures of youth depression to examine prospective relationships between observed parental support, responsiveness, criticism, and conflict and youths’ onset of a depressive episode in a 3-year longitudinal design. Participants included 585 community youth age 8–16 (M = 11.92, SD = 2.39, 56.6% female) and a participating caregiver. Parental behavior was coded by trained observers in the context of a 5-min conflict resolution discussion at the baseline assessment. Youth onset of depression was subsequently assessed every 6 months for a period of 3 years using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Aged Children (KSADS) to ascertain whether youth experienced onset of depressive episode over the follow-up. Logistic regression analyses indicated that greater parental conflict at baseline predicted higher odds of youth experiencing a depressive onset across the 3-year follow up period, even after controlling for youth and caregiver history of depression at baseline. Findings suggest that parental conflict is particularly influential in youth vulnerability to depression.


Depression Adolescent development Parenting Adolescence 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. DGE – 1746047.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


The research reported in this article was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to Benjamin L. Hankin, R01MH077195, and to Jami F. Young, R01MH077178.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Boards at the University of Denver (#2008-0810), Rutgers University (#08-436c), Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#17605), and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (#17-014212).

Informed Consent

Informed consent and assent were obtained from all participants prior to administration of study procedures.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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